The Facebook OS!!
A very pertinent question:
If you’re using Facebook messenger instead of texts, messages instead of email, events instead of a calendar app, voice messaging instead of a phone call, Instagram instead of your camera app, searching for nearby restaurants using Graph Search instead of a native maps app and discovering additional mobile experiences in the Facebook app store, does Android or iOS really own your experience on your mobile device?
No, you’re essentially using the Facebook operating system–it’s just packed inside a handful of apps.
Already Facebook has 680 million mobile users, more than either Android or iOS. Google and Apple have made it pretty easy for the company to wheel its Trojan horse into their devices. An integration with iOS 6 syncs calendar appointments and contacts and allows posting to Facebook from outside the app. Android is such an open environment so, as Zuckerberg put it, “Even though our relationship with Google isn’t one where the companies really talk, we are able to do a bunch of things that they have an open platform that lets us get deep into the platform.”
Instead of competing with other device makers and operating systems, Facebook has based its strategy on infiltrating the entire mobile experience from inside its apps. Apple and Google might still control the buttons, the app downloads, and the swiping signals, but Facebook is on the way to controlling what it cares about–their users’ time.
According to Comscore, Facebook already owns 23% of time spent in apps on Android and iOS. It also owns Instagram, one of the apps with which mobile users spend the second most amount of time (it’s tied with Gmail and YouTube at 3%). The more time the company controls on its competitors’ phones, the less important it is that it doesn’t have its own devices.
Over the last couple of years, Facebook has packed its mobile apps with much of the same functionality as operating systems like Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, or Amazon’s version of Android for Kindle Fire. It has not, however, launched the Facebook phone that once seemed inevitable.
That’s because your phone already is a Facebook phone. Android, Apple, whatever–with a strategy to make Facebook tools the go-to apps for everyday mobile living, the device type doesn’t matter.
The Facebook OS:
Text Messages: Facebook Messenger, a standalone instant messaging app, provides text-message like capabilities on Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone.
Photos: Facebook owns Instagram, the most dominant camera app across app stores.
Calendar: Facebook added a calendar view to Events last July.
Voice Calling: Facebook’s messenger app provides free voice calling and messaging for users in the U.S.
App Store: Facebook’s App Center includes Facebook web apps, iOS apps, and Android apps.
Search: Facebook Graph, which is still in beta, has potential to answer common mobile queries such as “restaurants nearby.”